Weeks after quit notice was given to Igbos living in the north, in what was dubbed the “Kaduna Declaration” it thus appears, the call for restructuring the country’s framework is at an all time high with the former military ruler, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida lending his voice to the call in a speech he released on Monday, but divergent reactions have began to trail the call among Nigerians.
Babangida’s restructuring call, which included devolution of powers by the central government to the states and the creation of state police, was upon his appeal to Nigerians to lessen the embers of war fanned by those he claimed were ignorant of the consequences of war as being spread by ethnic and religious jingoists.
In a statement, the Chairman of Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, (CACOL) Mr. Debo Adeniran said Babangida speaking in support of the call shows it has gathered momentum, but also scolded the General for wasting the opportunities he had to fix the country while he was in power: “Call for restructuring has become a tool for politicking. They now want to use it for selfish interest. Coming from someone, who has occupied the number one leadership position in the country shows that it has become popular. Even before Babangida left office we the members of NADECO called for an equitable Nigeria where everyone will be treated fairly but it was not done.
“His regime had the opportunity of convening a Sovereign National Conference but he wasted the opportunity, so when people like that talk, they should not be taken seriously. If anybody is saying there should not be any call for self determination, what did the person do when he had the opportunity of making Nigeria a true nation?”
Also, Group Political Editor, The Nation, Emmanuel Oladesu while examining the development wrote: “Had IBB handed over power to the late Abiola, perhaps, the situation would have been different. The Interim National Government (ING) that succeeded him was shoved aside by his ally, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, who despite setting up the 1999 Conference, tightened his hold on the country and ruled the pseudo-federal country like a Lord of Manor. His successor, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, was in a hurry to hand over with justification. He committed the error of foisting on the country the 1999 Constitution, which has remained an undemocratic document. Not only did the constitution lied against itself, it also lied against Nigerians. Its preface reads: “We the people…” Nigerians did not have opportunity to make an input into its preparation. Since 1999, some efforts have been made to revisit the constitution. A panel was set up by the Obasanjo administration to look at the document and make some recommendations. It did not see the light of the day.”
Ikemefula Iyke Ikwuagwu who reacted on Facebook said “I believe that restructuring is a lot beneficial to not only the SE but also other regions. Can anybody asking for Biafra tell us the post Biafra agenda, which States are confirmed participants and other details required for its survival.
“The sole actor of this agitation has not been able to answer these questions. Then I begin to wonder if the masses are just following blindly. When you ask an average SE person especially those residing in the areas “Why do u want Biafra?” You will be amazed…
“If only they had taken a moment to think it through, they would have found out that restructuring instead of Biafra will be for the good of ALL.”
Sounding the same tune, Samuel Bamidele U Francis in an opinionated argument on Facebook argued that “General Babangida’s assertion and support for restructuring our dear nation is greatly applauded knowing that restructuring is the only way out of the multi-dimensional challenges confronting us as a nation. Just talking and mere words about restructuring is not enough, it is time for action, I am appealing to General Babangida and all top government functionaries serving and retired in authority, in conjunction with the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency swing into action, start rallying round, win the conviction of all opponents and commence the immediate implementation of the restructuring without any further delay. The earlier we start now the better for the nation and every Nigerian. We need action! action!! action now!!!”